West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is urging people to take extra care when cooking after attending a dozen kitchen fires over the bank holiday weekend.
Between Saturday morning and Monday night (August 23-25) firefighters were called to 12 separate kitchen fires across the county.
Most started as a result of cooking being left unattended. Two of the occupiers involved had to be led to safety and another needed treatment for smoke inhalation.
Careless cooking is the most common cause of accidental house fires in West Sussex with around two-thirds of all house fires starting in the kitchen.
Deputy Safer Communities Manager for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, Adrian Carter, said: “We work very hard as a Service to promote kitchen fire safety to the local community so attending this many in such a short space of time is a real concern. Thankfully, the fires were brought under control very quickly by our crews and haven’t led to serious injury. However, the consequences could have been far more serious and many of them could easily have been avoided.
“The Home Fire Safety Checks that we have been carrying out over the last decade and the smoke detectors we have fitted undoubtedly means that many lives have been saved because people are getting an early warning of a fire. However, a smoke detector alone cannot prevent a fire starting in the first place so we are again urging people to take a few simple precautions to minimise the risk of a fire occurring” Adrian added.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue gave tips to stay safe in the kitchen.
Kitchen fires often occur when people leave cooking unattended, if you are called away from the cooker then ensure you take pans off the heat.
Clean toasters, hobs and grill pans regularly to avoid a build up of crumbs or fat which can easily catch fire.
Cooking after drinking alcohol can be a recipe for disaster, consider having something that doesn’t need to be cooked.
Don’t put oven gloves or tea towels down onto a hot cooker after you’ve used them.
Never fill a chip pan (or other deep-fat fryer) more than one-third full of oil. Consider using a thermostatically controlled deep-fat fryer - this will ensure that the fat does not get too hot.
Never use water on a chip pan fire, it will create a potentially lethal fireball.
If a pan catches fire don’t move it, it will be extremely hot.
Turn off the heat only if it’s safe to do so - never lean over a pan to reach the controls.
If you do have a fire in the kitchen, don’t take any risks - get everyone out and dial 999.
To find out if you are eligible for a Home Fire Safety Check call 0800 328 6487 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire where you can also access a full range of fire safety advice.